Gurney's Pittas in Thailand—From Rediscovery to Extinction in Just 28 Years

Main Article Content

Philip D. Round


The Thai-Burmese endemic bird, Gurney’s Pitta Pitta gurneyi, appears to be practically extinct in its last known Thai location around the mountain of Khao Nor Chuchi, Krabi and Trang Provinces. Conservation measures implemented since the rediscovery of the species in 1986 proved inadequate to safeguard an appropriately large area of its lowland forest habitat, most of which has been cleared illegally by rubber and oil-palm growers. The last known birds in 2013–2014 were three related individuals from an estimated population of 10–15 pairs in year 2000. This has important implications for the fate of other lowland biota, still inadequately represented in Thailand’s network of (mainly mountainous) parks and sanctuaries. Captive breeding of Gurney’s Pittas is futile without a prior realistic commitment to rehabilitate and restore a large and viable area of lowland rainforest within its former range. Conservation efforts should now be concentrated in Southern Myanmar where a significant population of Gurney’s Pittas remains.

Article Details